Stew Friedman is an organizational psychologist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he has been on the faculty since 1984. He worked for five years in the mental health field before earning his PhD from the University of Michigan. As founding director of The Wharton Leadership Program, in 1991 he initiated the required MBA and Undergraduate leadership courses. He also founded Wharton’s Work/Life Integration Project in 1991. Friedman has been recognized by the biennial Thinkers50 global ranking of management thinkers every cycle since 2011 and was honored with its 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award as the world’s foremost expert in the field of talent. He was listed among HR Magazine’s most influential thought leaders, chosen by Working Mother as one of America’s most influential men who have made life better for working parents, and presented with the Families and Work Institute’s Work Life Legacy Award.
While on leave from Wharton for two-and-a-half years, Friedman ran a 50-person department as the senior executive for leadership development at Ford Motor Company. In partnership with the CEO, he launched a corporate-wide portfolio of initiatives designed to transform Ford’s culture; 2500+ managers per year participated. Near the end of his tenure at Ford, an independent research group (ICEDR) said the LDC was a “global benchmark” for leadership development programs. At Ford, he created Total Leadership, which has been a popular Wharton course since 2001 and is used by individuals and companies worldwide, including as a primary intervention in a multi-year study funded by the National Institutes of Health on improving the careers and lives of women in medicine and by 135,000+ students in Friedman’s first MOOC on Coursera. Participants in this program complete an intensive series of challenging exercises that increase their leadership capacity, performance, and well-being in all parts of life, while working in high-involvement peer-to-peer coaching relationships.
His research is widely cited, including among Harvard Business Review‘s “Ideas that Shaped Management,” and he has written two bestselling books, Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life (2008) and Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life (2014), now being taught as a MOOC on Coursera. In 2013, Wharton School Press published his landmark study of two generations of Wharton students, Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family. Work and Family – Allies or Enemies? (2000) was recognized by the Wall Street Journal as one of the field’s best books. In Integrating Work and Life: The Wharton Resource Guide (1998) Stew edited the first collection of learning tools for building leadership skills for integrating work and life. His latest book is Parents Who Lead: The Leadership Approach You Need to Parent with Purpose, Fuel Your Career, and Create a Richer Life (2020).
Winner of many teaching awards, he appears regularly in business media (The New York Times cited the “rock star adoration” he inspires in his students). Friedman serves on a number of boards and is an in-demand speaker, consultant, coach, workshop leader, public policy advisor (to the U.S. Departments of Labor and State, the United Nations, and two White House administrations), and advocate for family-supportive policies in the private sector. Follow on Twitter @StewFriedman and LinkedIn, read his 50+ digital articles HBR.org, and tune in to his Work and Life show on SiriusXM 132, Business Radio Powered by Wharton (selected episodes now available as free podcasts.)